My Happy Place: Kai-Isaiah Jamal Is Next in 10’s New Creative Generation

A new creative generation is emerging from the devastation of lockdown. Inside Issue 66 of 10 Magazine, we teamed up with Chanel to spotlight a series of actors, musicians, activists, writers and artists who are fueled by talent, self-belief and are ready to shape the cultural landscape. Their time is now.

Up next is spoken word poet, writer, model and visibility activist, Kai-Isaiah Jamal. The ICA’s inaugural poet-in-residence is shaping culture in 2021 with words that reach deep.

Where is your happy place?

“Here, this house. During lockdown, I’ve felt privileged to have a space that feels like somewhere you can be creative and inspired. Waking up to light all the time and the super-big windows and airy space has been really good, especially during lockdown. This is my centre, this is where I am.”

Why do you need a happy place?

“I’ve never had a home of my own. It’s always been stopping at places, or being in other people’s space. Being able to curate something to be your own, having your books up, your art or just knowing that there are pieces of you that are tangible – things in a space is super-important. Not having it before has made me even more appreciative of it now.”

What do you do in your happy place?

“I do a lot of writing here. It’s really nice when it’s completely empty and no one is here and it’s super-echoey. I blast music and I can have pieces of paper and books everywhere and take over the whole space.”

Last year was tough. How are you coping in 2021?

“Coming together is really important. So is checking in on people, making sure that your friends and family and even people you’re not close to are doing OK, and creating a sense of community. We do rely on each other, more than we would like to admit. It’s important to keep those connections running. Go wherever feels warm and that will be your happy place.”

Kai-Isaiah Jamal wears Chanel, as photographed by Adama Jalloh. Taken from Issue 66 of 10 Magazine – MY, HAPPY, PLACE – is out NOW. Order your copy here.


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